Concerned citizens meet over plan to make curbside recycling mandatory

Meeting attracts many people in Kern County

BAKERSFIELD - There could be an extra cost on your utility bill starting next summer.  The Kern County Waste Management department is considering a proposal to make curbside recycling mandatory.

County leaders say the move is all part of recent changes in legislation and an increase in the state recycle goal, but many concerned citizens say it’s all a big headache.

Bo Smith believes everyone should recycle.

“I do it to save the environment. I try to preserve it the best I can,” he said.

Smith is one of the many people against a plan by the Kern County Waste Management Department to make curbside recycling a requirement.

“First off, we pay a surcharge on our redemption value. So, in my opinion we’re giving our redemption value away and then paying for them to come pick it up,” he said.

“We just don’t want this,” said a concerned citizen at a public workshop on the issue.  The debate is raising many concerns for people impacted by the plan.

“I’m going to be out there guarding my trash can,” said another Bakersfield resident.

Some people say curbside recycling will just attract more people digging through the trash.  Others, worry about the proposed rate increase of $36.

“The city should be bringing jobs in here and looking to help people and it’s not. This is just another thing that for, people that are on social security are on a limited income, it’s a lot of money,” said another resident at the meeting.

The proposal expands service to include a new blue cart bi-weekly, that’s in addition to the tan trash cart and the green waste cart.

“From the overall impact standpoint doesn’t seem like a lot of money at least to myself, but I can sympathize with somebody who is living day by day where every dollar counts,” said Trevor Demayo, who just moved to Bakersfield and supports the change.

The plan impacts 43,000 homes in the metropolitan Bakersfield area and for the people who support the proposal, it’s all about managing your waste.

Trevor: “Our landfills are filling up and you want to put the stuff that can’t be recycled in them and try to recycle and minimize the impact on the landfills with the materials that are biodegradable or can be used to make other value added products,” said Demayo.

Implementation of the program would begin on July 1, 2013.  The proposed rate increase from $209.64 to $245.64 for a one unit residential property for Fiscal Year 2013-2014.

If more than 50 percent of people protest the proposed change the plan will not be implanted. 

Leaders have scheduled a protest hearing for November 13th.

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